Miller emphasizes versatility in 2016 class

Sean Miller discusses the high school members of Arizona's 2016 class.

Sean Miller took time on Wednesday to address the incoming class and the theme seemed to be the versatility that each brings to the table.

“We have to be able to put our best team and players on the court,” Miller said. “None of these guys are relegated to playing only one position. 

“We have to be flexible as coaches so that the system we have allows that to happen. It is all going to come down to who is ready and who performs the best.”

The biggest player Arizona signed is Lauri Markkanen and expectations will be high.

“The thing that stands out is his size,” Miller said. “He is 225, five percent body fat, and 6-foot-11. 

“His skill level shooting, he has an amazing looking shot and can shoot it from three, off the dribble, and has the ability to pick it up and take it to greater lengths.”

Unfortunately, Markkanen will not be able to practice with Arizona during the summer. However, it is for a good reason.

“Lauri is here and the reason he is here for pre-session is his academic year ended early enough where he could do so, but he has an obligation to his national team that will keep him in Europe for the entire summer,” Miller said.

“He will play both within his age group and go through a training camp in August for the senior national team. He will be busy all summer playing against great competition.”

Moving on, point guard Kobi Simmons is expected to challenge for the starting spot right away.

“The word that stands out to me in describing Kobi is talent,” Miller said. “Kobi is every bit of 6-foot-5 and has there ability to score and shoot. He has that and it is up to us to teach him the game and the tricks of the trade so to speak. 

“We are really excited about him. Everybody can play more than one position and Kobi is that. He can be on the court with Parker or be the primary ball handler.”

In terms of physical readiness, Rawle Alkins is easily the most advanced player that Arizona signed.

“Rawle is New York City through and through in terms of when you are from there you have had to earn and compete for everything,” Miller said. “I have found that those guys have an inherent toughness about them that is very real and he embodies that. 

“He is very, very physical and believes in himself. If you noticed Rondae and Stanley when they first came here, one of the gifts they had to make them successful is their body. Rawle isn’t skinny and he is strong. 

“I love his fight and his will. I have yet to talk to anybody that has played against him and knows him that doesn’t describe him in that way. I think that is something our team needs that we missed a year ago.”

Lastly, Arizona signed a player that Miller has already coached with USA Basketball.

“I am as familiar with Terrence as anybody,” he said. “Terrence is as good of a defensive player as I have seen at his age. 

“In terms of his ability to shoot the basketball coupled with his ability to defend, he is almost like an upperclassman in those two areas of his game and it is just a matter of him picking up strength and size and as he does that I think he has a very bright future.”


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